Christopher Bailey, the Yorkshireman behind the luxury fashion chain Burberry, knows at first hand about the economic uncertainty being created by Brexit – it’s why plans for a £50m new factory in Leeds are on hold.
Yet, unlike those doom-laden entrepreneurs and politicians who still view Britain’s looming exit from the European Union in purely apocalyptic terms, how refreshing to hear such a respected individual accentuating the positives – and opportunities.
After all, the traditional Burberry trenchcoat is not just a symbol of Yorkshire’s textile and manufacturing heritage but it is a global brand because it represents British excellence. And, as Mr Bailey said so candidly, the decision to leave the EU has the potential to open the door for new international trade links around the world. “It’s a much smaller world today than it has ever been in terms of being able to trade,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
However the subtext of his remarks could not have been more pertinent at the end of a week that saw MPs begin the process of incorporating myriad EU rules and regulations into British law. Tough new immigration rules must not close the door to the most talented – Britain must always be open to the brightest and best – while trade talks need to start sooner rather than later so businesses, like Burberry, can start making long-term investment decisions that are fundamental to the future of UK manufacturing.
As such, the Government needs to make sure that political brinkmanship with the EU does not stifle the one trait which underpins every successful economy and which defines Mr Bailey – creativity.